The Metro is guaranteed a Class 4A team in the state softball tournament next month.
One. And one only.
The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union released its regional pairings Wednesday. All six of the Cedar Rapids-Marion 4A teams are lumped into one region.
Third-ranked Jefferson and No. 12 Xavier received the byes and appear to be on a collision course to tangle in a regional final July 15 at Jefferson.
Only one of them can advance, a contrast to recent years in which Jefferson and Linn-Mar have been regulars at Fort Dodge.
Xavier had been a 3A school until this school year.
The postseason trail begins July 8 for Class 1A teams, July 9 in 2A and July 11 in 3A and 4A. Regional finals are July 15 in each class; the state tournament is July 20-24.
Other items of note
** For the first time since softball was split into four classes, there are more teams in 2A (128) than in 1A (125). Three 1A teams have first-round byes. Makes you wonder what lies in the future … best options would include dropping the number of 2A schools to 96, or going back to three classes.
** All 1A and 2A regional finals will be held on neutral sites.
** In Class 3A, Mount Vernon (Region 6) and Clear Creek Amana (Region 7) will host throughout the pre-state series. Same for Jefferson in 4A.
How state might look
If state line pairings were established based on the current rankings and if all the favorites advanced, here is how the state pairings would look:
CLASS 4A – #1 West Des Moines Valley vs. #10 Fort Dodge; #4 Waukee vs. #5 Des Moines East; #3 Cedar Rapids Jefferson vs. #6 Lewis Central (in a rematch of last year’s first-round game); #2 North Scott vs. #9 Burlington.
CLASS 3A – #1 Clear Creek Amana vs. #11 Waverly-Shell Rock; #4 Sioux City Heelan vs. #5 Fort Madison; #3 Dubuque Wahlert vs. #7 Davenport Assumption; #2 Carlisle vs. #8 Winterset.
CLASS 2A – #1 Conrad BCLUW vs. #11 Okoboji; #5 Belmond-Klemme vs. #6 Pella Christian; #3 Bondurant-Farrar vs. #7 Emmetsburg; #2 Albia vs. #8 Carroll Kuemper.
CLASS 1A – #1 Woodbury Central vs. #11 Lisbon; #4 Akron-Westfield vs. #5 Martensdale-St. Marys; #3 North Butler vs. #7 Glidden-Ralston; #2 Newell-Fonda vs. #8 New London.